Advocates for poor question Walker's Medicaid plan

Walker said more people will get coverage

Published On: Feb 14 2013 12:32:45 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 14 2013 06:44:17 PM CST

Advocates for the poor in Wisconsin are questioning whether Gov. Scott Walker's plan to move more people off of state Medicaid plans and onto a federal marketplace where they will purchase private insurance will work as promised.

Walker said the plan he unveiled Wednesday will result in about 5,000 fewer people being on Medicaid, but increase the overall number covered by insurance by 224,580. Those people would purchase their coverage through the federally run health insurance exchange and not be covered by Medicaid.

But Bobby Peterson, head of the public interest law firm ABC for Health, said Thursday the poorest people kicked out of Medicaid will have a hard time affording even the $19 a month coverage under the exchange.

Peterson said people like them will lose insurance coverage.

"Gov. Walker, what kind of person would say no to health care for thousands of people who pay your salary, your health insurance, with our taxes?" asked Gretchen Gilhan, of La Crosse, whose adult daughter has battled a lifelong heart condition.

State Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, led a rally Thursday against Walker's decision. He said the governor's refusal of federal funding for BadgerCare will deny thousands of lower-income adults health coverage.